890F.61A/9: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Minister in Egypt (Kirk)

165. Further to the Department’s 115, February 6, 9 p.m., funds have now been authorized for a “United States Agricultural Mission to Saudi Arabia” headed by K. S. Twitchell and having Albert Lee Wathen, Department of the Interior and James Guy Hamilton, Department of Agriculture, as members. It is hoped that the Mission will depart by air about March 15. It will proceed via Cairo and its work in Saudi Arabia will occupy a minimum of 3 months.

The Saudi Arabian Legation at Cairo should be informed of the foregoing with an expression of hope that the Saudi Arabian Government will furnish food, lodging, transport and such local personnel as may be required. You should also state that the President has addressed a letter to King Ibn Saud which will be delivered at the time of the Mission’s arrival.

For your strictly confidential information, the War Department desires in principle to establish airfields in Saudi Arabia11 and expects to designate an officer in Cairo to accompany you when you present your credentials, the President’s letter above mentioned, and the Agricultural Mission. The War Department desires the officer in question to make a survey and to prepare definite recommendations. The method of approach in this matter is left to your discretion after you consult with General Maxwell and, if you consider it desirable, with the British. It may be best to have the officer designated accompany you as a member of your staff and bring up the question of airfields after you reach Saudi Arabia.

In connection with the establishment of a combined office at Jidda, in regard to which a separate message is being sent, it is hoped to bring Moose12 to Cairo in time to accompany you on your journey.

  1. For correspondence on this subject, see pp. 567 ff.
  2. James S. Moose, Jr., assigned as Second Secretary and Consul at Jidda, February 28, 1942.